For my Case Study I chose one off of Teach-Now's list of materials I was permited to use. I chose to use Jordan beccause he is close to the age of the students I teach, as well as his case captured my curiousity.
Jordan is a 13 year old grade 8 student. His father is a physician, his mother a nurse who works as a receptionist in his father's office. Jordan has two brothers, one 2 years younger, one 2 years older. Both brothers are strong, high achieving students. Their parents are caring and supportive of the school. The family has traveled extensively and Jordan has taken piano lessons and plays a number of extra curricular sports.
Jordan's strengths include:
a well developed oral vocabulary,
ability to confidently share a broad base of knowledge with adults,
ability to make valuable contributions to discussions in science and social studies,
grade appropriate skills in math and reading
some appropriate social skills (e.g. apologizes when corrected)
strong test taking skills
During the first month of Grade 8, Jordan's English teacher, Ms Fast noted the following areas of concern:
rarely completes assignments
rarely polishes a final draft; work often difficult to read with many "careless" errors
rarely brings necessary materials to class
talks constantly, blurts out answers in class discussions, frequently interrupts teacher and peers
gets out of seat and wanders around inappropriately
distracts other students during work time, by humming, tapping his pencil, tapping his feet, etc.
feels badly when provided feedback on behaviour (interrupting, disrupting) and progress (assignments not completed)
Ms. Fast discussed these concerns with Jordan's other subject area teachers and found that although the impulsivity and hyperactivity had been observed in other classes, Jordan was able to keep up on most of the assigned work.
Ms. Fast arranged a meeting with Jordan and his parents after school. At the meeting, it was decided to focus on increasing the number of assignments completed. Jordan's parents hoped that the disruptive behaviours would automatically decrease if Jordan were spending more time doing his work. They also felt that if he was motivated to complete his assignments, he would bring the necessary materials. Ms. Fast agreed that completing more work was the most important goal.
Ms Fast planned to use the following strategies to help Jordan to increase the number of tasks and assignments he completed:
providing a printed sheet describing the requirements and the due dates for each assignment for Jordan to insert into his binder as a reference (a copy of these assignment sheets would be placed in a central location in the class for all students to consult)
breaking longer assignments into small chunks and providing feedback on each chunk as soon as it is finished
providing organizational frameworks for all composition assignments (e.g. story maps, research grid, frame for descriptive and expository paragraphs)
sending home a weekly "report card" indicating the number of tasks and assignments required and completed each week
Jordan's parents agreed to chart the assignment completion data at home and provide Jordan with 100 points each time he completed an established number of tasks or assignments at school. These points could later be used to "buy" something Jordan wanted. Jordan's parents agreed that some points could be used to buy smaller, short term reinforcers (choice of rental movie, choice of restaurant for take-out food, etc.), while some would be "saved" for a long term, larger reinforcer. Jordan indicated that he would like to "save up" for a skateboard.
Ms. Fast indicated that she would call Jordan's parents in one month's time to discuss the effectiveness of the planned strategies and, if necessary, to update the plan.
Looking at the case study of Jordan, I would agree with his teacher that motivation is a key to his success. I would also add that he might need to move around a bit more to help stay focus on his work. And I would disagree that giving him more work or giving him more paperwork would be the key. The teacher suggests that the printed sheets describing the due dates for the assignments for his reference. She also suggests that the longer assignments be broken up into smaller chunks, also with a report card to give to his parents on a weekly base. And his parents agreed to use a point system for him to use for collecting rewards for accomplishing the tasks that he needs to accomplish. The reason I would say that the teacher might not have 100% of the picture. Not to sound gender bias, but boys do tend to need to move around more than girls, he also asked for a skateboard with the points he saved up on. He also talks constantly, and interrupts the teacher, he also gets out of his seat to wander around at inappropriate times. He also gets distracted during work time by tapping his feet or tapping his pencil. These are all signs that he might need some physical movement to help himself stay focus.
I would recommend the teacher adding a few different movement activities when it comes to group work. For example, when students need answer questions or learn about subject but need to answer questions for a form a formative assessment, I would recommend that the teacher have the students play four corners.
Debate that requires students to show positions on a specific statement by standing in a corner of the room
Options are: strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree
Ensures everyone participates
Great warm-up activity
Prepare: Label corners and generate controversial statements
Introduce statements: distribute statements and give students chance to think and write
Four corners discussion: read statements, students move to corner, then students defend corner
Reflection: many different approaches to this step
This will give him a chance to move around and keep him focus during the discussions.
Another idea I would have for the teacher would be to use a differentiated movement activity. When students have to research or learn about a new topic the teacher could use classroom exploratory to give students a chance to work in pairs or by themself, work on different subjects and different times according to their own interest. This might help him learn a little better, by giving him a slight feeling of control in his life. This will give him the “power” to choose and therefore he will be more motivated to work on what he decides to work on.
By using this gallery style environment, you allow students to spread around the room, giving them space to generate their own thoughts while at the same time providing opportunities for controlled interaction and conversation.
Summary of the Activity:
Transform the class into a workspace of practice problems and ask student to walk around the class.
Prepare and place practice problems around the room; depending on the size of your room spread an average of ten items throughout it.
Instruct students to walk around the classroom solve the problem that are hung up, choosing the ones they want to take on first, second, third, etc.
Allow students to work in pairs if they would like to discuss the work with someone or need help in a particular problem, or by themselves.
I feel that if the teacher would bend a little and not expect the student to fit into a mold, that there will be better results. I also feel that if the teacher would to make the student activities more itneractive, students like Jason, would be able to keep motivated and stay in tuned in school.